Monday, February 25, 2013

Watercolor Waif

When I crack open a new magazine, the first thing I do is to tear out all of the perfume sample pages and sink them into the trash. As much as I would love to smell the samples, wear the perfumes, the merest sniff usually sets off a monumental migraine, and I hate to take the chance.

This particular scent sample had an interesting looking young woman on it, though, so I ripped off the smelly strip and saved the girl... use as the subject of a watercolor sketch:

Yes. Too much eyebrow.
But many of us are plagued with that problem, and why should she be any different?

I'm going to try for more washy and splashy, next time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Reaffirmation

As promised, here is the update on a recent, unfinished piece.

Unfinished sketch
oh, dear
*Excuse me for a minute while I take a break to go through my old sketches and remind myself that I can once in a while do a sketch that doesn't turn out scary. ---intermission--- OK.!

This sketch experience lends credence to...

1. It's about OBSERVATION more than about what the pencil's doing on the paper. At least that's the way I see it. I went back into this sketch without my model, and what previously looked like a poor rendition of Cassidy became a poor rendition of...a weird baby doll? 

2. Sometimes it's best to know when to throw in the towel and start over! Which I'll try to do as soon as I can convince her to sit, again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Revisit and Review. Soon.

I realize that I post a lot of drawings and paintings that I proclaim "unfinished," promising updates, and then they drop off the face of the earth. Most often, it's because I get distracted by another sketch/painting attempt, with high hopes that THIS one will come out better than the last, but often, it's because I went and fussed some more with the original piece, and, well...I should have left well-enough alone.
As soon as I have a concentrated bit of time, I'm going to revisit a couple of drawings and show the "finished" versions. Been busy at the farm for a few days, though, and out of computer touch. We're ready for sap season now--let it flow!
For the mean time, here are a couple of little watercolor sketches that I did this weekend between cleaning the sap house and other related Delhi Duties.
...and that's the very last scrap of watercolor paper in the old notebook.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I am unavoidably separated from my Handsome Husband today, because the temps call for tapping. No--he's not a dancer. It's maple sap season (or almost) in the Northeast, and time to tap the trees, run the lines that need repair, and clean up the sap house for some syrup-making!
I'll be going down to the farm for belated Valentine's Day fun this weekend. Maybe I'll even get him to sit for yet another portrait attempt. But for now, here's an unfinished sketch of another of my favorite Valentines.
I think I'll sit in front of the wood stove tonight and even up her big and small eyeballs (WHOA there, why didn't I notice THAT craziness until it was on the computer screen? Remember Bloom County and Bill the Cat--Aack!) add some dark values, narrow up her mushy jawline, and fix this thing up a bit. Yes, Honey, I will make you look prettier--more like you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sweet, Sweet Promotion

Imagine my excitement upon discovery that James Gurney was promoting my eBook, Kismet, on his blog yesterday!


However, that is the Anders Zorn portrait I appropriated for Kismet's cover. I would dearly like to go see that show, along with the Sargent watercolors in Brooklyn. They're on my schedule for spring!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fresh Perspective

Viewing a possibly-finished painting upside down, checking a sketch in the mirror...add "scanning and viewing on the computer monitor" to the list of ways you can get a fresh perspective on your artwork. I sketched Miss Demi/Audrey/Only/Younger from a magazine ad, and then scanned her in and looked at her...
...and made a few observations that I hadn't made pre-scan.
I should:

1. Go darker! 
Amp up the contrast, but don't lose mid-tones in the process. 
In doing so, I might;
2. Make her look more soft and rounded where she ought to be. Also;
3. Pay more attention to the direction of my shading marks, 
unless I;
4. Work more "softly" and delineate shapes of shades instead of cross-hatches. 
Oh. And 5. Shave a bit off of her left, top lip (on the right.) But that's minor compared to the technique stuff.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Little Progress

Buoyed by Kim of The Twirling Dragon blog's suggestion that "visual memory" is a skill worth developing, I put in a little more time on this small watercolor, going back-and-forth between the room with the chair and the room with my paints. Here's where things stand:

I had better do something to anchor that table before it floats any higher into the air! Descend, Oh Table!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bleu Cheese and Backlighting

Cassidy has had a bit of a car problem, so I picked her up from her internship at the museum last night. We took my fistful of coupons  from the Sunday paper to Wendy's, and I ordered a cobb salad. Did you know that a cobb salad has bleu cheese in it? I didn't pay that much attention to the description, so I did not know this.

It had bleu cheese in it. LOTS of bleu cheese, in fact, I do believe that there was more bleu cheese than lettuce in the bowl. Yuck! Mold! I do a little cringe every time I open a bag of clay that has visual mold in it, and all I have to do there is touch it, not eat it. Mold serves to increase the clay's plasticity, which gives me a little "good outweighs the bad" feeling, but mold and me are still not friends.

BUT...visible mold in food=double blech! I will read the descriptions more carefully when I order food from now on.

And on the art front, I've been playing with watercolors. I started this watercolor of a portion of my living room. 
I'm having a couple of problems with this.
1. It's not in the same room as my painting setup, so I have to walk over, memorize the view, and then walk back into another room to set brush to paper. Stupid!
2. Mud!

But as always, I am learning. And I like the plant on the table.